A New Orleans high school senior, on the verge of flunking out, says that the sting operation he set up against his teacher, proves that she was demanding dollars before clearing him for a diploma.
Glen Cooks Jr., a student at Walter L. Cohen High School, says that five years ago, when he went to see his teacher, Kathleen Stokes, she blasted him for the mistakes on his late term paper. According to Cooks, Stokes told him she would give him the grade he needed to graduate, but it would cost him.
He says she told him: “Glenn, I'm going to let you go. But you owe me big time. When you going to fork over the cash?"
Cooks showed up to that meeting with Stokes with a tape recorder hidden in his backpack. He is now suing his former teacher, saying she extorted cash for the grade.
When all was said and done, Cooks was granted his diploma – but he said it cost him more than $1,200 in cash and gifts.
While Stokes has not explained the recording, according to The Times Picayune, she denies taking any money from her former student. In fact, Stokes contends in court documents that “Cooks handed her a modified version of his paper and offered to pay her $10 to change his grade, but she turned him down,” the paper reports.
Cooks also taped another meeting with Stokes. He turned both tapes over to federal authorities, who have not sought an indictment, the Times-Picayune reports. Cooks says the second tape is a recording of his last gift of cash to Stokes that school year.
But Bruce Ashley II, a criminal defense attorney who represents Stokes, said his client never tried to shake down the student, and she can prove it – if the case were ever to appear in court. However, that’s unlikely, since it is past the five-year prosecutorial time limit.
"If the feds ever took this to trial, I'll be there to defend her,” Ashley told the Picayune. “She'll be found not guilty."
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